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Earlier this month, 24 couples from Concord Church in Dallas got married. On the same day. At the same time. And on the same altar.
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September - Grand - Wedding - Texas - Megachurch
September 8 marked the fourth “Grand Wedding” at the Texas megachurch, the conclusion of Pastor Bryan Carter’s Cohabitation Challenge. For the past decade, Carter has stressed God-honoring relationships among his 9,000-member congregation and sought to resist the cultural forces making living together an acceptable substitute for walking down the aisle.
When couples join the 90-day program, Concord offers them 11 weeks of intensive marriage counseling, a married couple to mentor them for the next year, and an all-expenses-paid wedding ceremony at the end of the journey—thanks to artists, musicians, hair stylists, and financial benefactors within the congregation.
Church - Couples - Challenge - Rent - Members
The church has married 81 couples through the challenge, and also offers to cover rent for cohabitating members who opt to live apart rather than making it official. Seven people have came to faith as a result of the most recent 90-day program.
“It helps us to model the gospel, because the gospel is redemptive,” Carter said. “It’s not just about us calling out a struggle that people may have, but let’s talk about how I can move from where I was to the place where God is honored.”
Cohabitation - Research - Details - Instability - Arrangement
As cohabitation continues to rise and more research details the instability of the arrangement for families, churches that champion marriage inevitably have to grapple with the issue. In a 2011 survey, more than half of Protestant pastors said they would marry couples who had been living together. Leaders at churches like Concord want to make that process as easy as possible while also ensuring couples take the commitment seriously.
Carter, who has been married for 21 years and lived with his wife for a stint...
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